Fort Lauderdale, Florida – Detectives from the Broward Sheriff’s Office are searching for a man who allegedly committed a sexual battery on a 7 year old boy. According to WSVN-TV Channel 7, the boy and his sister were crossing through Sunview Park, which is located near Davie Boulevard, when a man in his 20’s or 30’s approached the children at gun point. While pointing the gun, the man allegedly directed the boy into a port-o-potty where he raped him as the boy’s sister waited outside.
According to police, a manhunt was initiated after the childrens’ parents called police.
The rapist is described as a white or light browned skinned man, tall and slim, in his 20’s or 30’s, with a clean shaven face. While police went door to door seeking help, the man is still at large.
The manner in which this man commited these crimes tells law enforcement that they are dealing with a person who is either psychotic, uncontrollably impulsive, or both. The fact that he used a gun against children, in broad day light, coupled with the fact that he raped the boy while leaving the girl outside the port-o-potty unsupervised, shows that the man acted without regard for risk.
Such offenders present pros and cons to law enforcement. On the one hand, the man will undoubtedly be caught because he is utterly reckless. On the other hand, he will likely be caught by reoffending.
Ultimately, prosecutors may charge him with two counts of armed kidnapping and one count of armed sexual battery. The fact that a gun was used in the commission of these felonies means he will be subjected to 10-20-LIFE penalties.
However, even if an arrest is made, there is still no guarantee that the person arrested will be convicted. Ultimately, prosecutors must prove that a crime was committed and that the person charged is the person, and none other, who committed the crime.
Since the prosecution’s entire case hinges upon the testimony of two 7 year olds, identification of the offender may prove to be very difficult at trial. Unlike adults, young children do not make reliable witnesses because they do not record, recollect, and verbalize memories in a sophisticated manner. Child testimony is even more suspect in situations where the child is recalling memories made while under the influence of fright, panic, pain, or victimization.
There is no doubt that a child is able to remember when a person, especially a stranger, touches them in a way that hurts or feels “yucky” or “bad.” However, a child’s ability to identify a specific stranger from other similar looking strangers in a photo line-up may prove to be very difficult, if not sometimes impossible. To make matters worse, children are especially susceptible to suggestive identification by law enforcement who are eager to arrest the person they think committed the crime.
These circumstances may worsen for prosecutors if the children ultimately identify different, but similar looking, offenders.
Of course, if this man left behind any DNA evidence or if his fingerprints are recovered from the port-o-potty, identification may turn out to be very easy.
Ultimately, this offender will likely do himself in by committing the same crime in the same place to other children. When a criminal acts impulsively or is psychotic, it is just a matter of time before he or she is caught.
Hopefully these children and their families will one day recover and get past this horific experience.
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